Carys captained the Welsh U18s women’s rugby team with distinction!

Katie Thicker and Cerys Lloyd playing for WalesWhen Wales' under 18 girls' rugby team competed recently in the European Sevens Tournament in Vichy, France, the proud captain of the squad was Carys Lloyd, who hails from Pembroke Dock, attends Coleg Sir Gar and plays for The Scarlets.

Carys played up front and was thrilled to represent her county alongside Katie Thicker (Haverfordwest), a speed merchant at the back, also involved - and selection was fitting reward for a lot of hard work and total commitment to the cause, starting out with a Pembroke Dock Quins' side organised by Phil Hughes before she went to study at Coleg Sir Gar and earned a regular place at Parc y Scarlets.

Feedback had Carys blubbing!

Welsh selection came on the back of playing for West Wales as one of the regions in the UK Schools' Championships at Loughborough College where she led the team to a creditable fifth place.

"On the way back we were all given individual feed-back on our performances and when I was told I was going to be chosen for the Welsh Under 18s out in France I cried like a baby," admitted Carys.

"That was embarrassing enough," she added with a chuckle,” but when the coach added that I had also been selected as the team captain I really blubbed!"

A memorable time

Carys puts in a big tackleOn the eve of the competition she had to appear in the Welsh kit for a photoshoot with all the other 15 captains involved and then it was on to the hurley-burley of the event itself, with Wales playing three games on the first day, two 24 hours later and then three on the final day, including the play-off games that eventually saw them end the competition in eighth place.

"It was a terrific experience in front of good crowds and although we lost against Ireland we showed our fighting spirit by clawing our way back from 24-0 with 17 points of our own before the final whistle beat us, but we felt it was our best performance of the tournament!"

Started out in football after parents’ involvement

It all seems such a long way from the time that Carys began her interest in sport, which in view of family ties is no surprise that it should be football because her father Chris was a hard-tackling defender with Pennar Robins and led them in two spells as manager, the second at the present moment after a successful stint at Angle where he took them into the first division. Her mum Sarah also played football for the Robins' Ladies and is still described by Carys as a great supporter and even better taxi-driver for all her travels since!

Carys used to go to watch dad play at Bush Camp but usually ended up playing alongside the young lads there behind the goals - and took to it straight away so that by the time she was 13 she was playing in the back four for Swansea Girls Academy at their Elbe training ground, travelling up early from school on Wednesday evenings.

"There was even more travel for away matches and after I while I decided it was too much along with school work and I decided to call it a day!"

Other sportsCarys Lloyd

Carys has also played netball for the Pembroke Acorn team coached by Alice Watts and eventually gained selection for the Welsh Hub Development Squad, as well as for Coleg Sir Gar and West Wales.

"We play against other regions like North, Central, South and South-East Wales, and I've also been chosen for Welsh Colleges - and I'm in the under 21 squad already as another bonus at 17 years of age.

Carys also set out in hockey from Year Seven at Pembroke School and by the time she was 13 was playing as a centre half or midfielder for the county under 15s.

"I also enjoyed playing for the Pembroke Ladies' team coached by Jackie Cadogan but it clashed with netball and so sadly I had to give it up.

Scarlets’ start

When the Quins’’ team folded she received a phone call from Clodagh Llewhellin, who was involved with Haverfordwest and The Scarlets, asking her if she would like to trial with the latter.

That was in 2015 and coach Darren Morgan must have been impressed with her play because he asked her to play a 15 a-side tournament in Blackwood, which they won as Olympian Jazz Joyce was also involved in the team.

"I was also picked for the inter-regional matches against the Blues, Dragons and Ospreys with other players like Katie Thicker (Haverfordwest), Lauren Morgan (Neyland), Ffion Howells (Pembroke), Lleucu George (Crymych), Amy Morgan and Megan Davies (Whitland).

‘Memorable Moments’

Carys gets her pass awayAs well as her French adventure, which she would certainly describe as her rugby highlight so far, have been other 'golden moments' to treasure.
"At 15 I played my first game at the Millennium (now the Principality) Stadium as I led out the West Wales team against East Wales and I will never forget running onto the superb pitch, or it being announced afterwards that I had been chosen as the Scarlets' 'Player of the Year' for my age group.

"I also played there again soon afterwards and another highlight was playing for the Scarlets against the Ospreys at Parc y Scarlets in a good win for us."

And finally . . .

Not content with that little lot, Carys also played for the Welsh Colleges and if pushed she would perhaps say that she would love to follow Jazz Joyce into the Welsh senior side. Her favourite female player is flanker Alisha Butchers, who was such a help when Carys took over the reins, with Justin Tipuric and Talupe Faletau as her top male rugby stars.

But above all else, Carys Lloyd clearly loves her involvement in rugby and just wants to play at the highest level possible for her. She is clearly a well-motivated and very skillful player and we wish her continued success as a great flag bearer for Pembrokeshire!